The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about significant changes in the way higher education bodies design and deliver their courses with the adoption of digital technologies. This rapid redesign of learning techniques has become the kernel for today’s new academic model.
In The University of Law’s new academic model, we carefully describe the characteristics which will help The University of Law continue to deliver outstanding teaching amidst the continuous evolution of the higher education climate.
The learning, teaching and assessment for the future will be within a hybridised model, deploying greater use of digital technologies to offer tomorrow’s students an outstanding and distinguishable learning pathway. The new learning and teaching strategy will get ourselves ready and our learners and graduates, for a changing world ahead.
To achieve this and our primary objectives, the new model looks through five pillars: Teaching Excellence, Data, Design, Assessment and Student Experience.
These will be underpinned by four themes: Inclusivity, Distinctiveness, Sustainability and Impact.
We aim to bring together the design and delivery components of our educational offering to enable more inclusivity.
The principles that underpin tutors’ skills transformation originate in the need to adapt to new roles, devise new modes of interaction and discover engaging ways of teaching, that increase connectivity and interaction with learners.
Tutors will enable the humanisation, interaction, communication, and online presence in online classes by:
- access to experiences and a solid professional background, in addition to academic credentials
- strong communication and interpersonal interaction skills such as self-disclosure and humour, empathy and cultural sensitivity (or openness, concern, flexibility, and sincerity)
- be proactive, encourage feedback, and make adjustments as needed
- be technology savvy and understand technology affordances
- be comfortable to communicate in writing
- understanding of module design principles (thus allowing to control the flow of work in the learning space)
- understanding of facilitated learning over directive learning
Tutors will possess a range of skills to deliver the future The University of Law provision whether it be in-person, blended or online attendance.
As a leading Law University, we are genuinely distinctive in what we do. We have a unique culture with an extraordinary offer to students, and academic staff; which makes us extremely attractive in a world where students and staff are seeking a fulfilling, productive and personalised experience.
Our staff, while having different specialist areas and expertise, have a common aim to support students to acquire knowledge and a sense of belonging within the University and their chosen profession.
We wish to focus on the quality of our work through continually raising standards and exceeding staff-student and partner expectations. To do so, we recognise all staff will require a mentor at some point in their career at The University of Law. Therefore, we promise to allocate a mentor to each member of staff to assist with developing knowledge, skills and behaviour. Mentors will provide careers advice as well as direction as to how roles can be enhanced in the university.
We will inclusively use digital technologies to create an attractive and purposeful virtual space for our students, thus changing our learning, teaching and assessment into a Hybrid model for learning. The University of Law’s Digital Strategy (2019-2021) outlines how we will achieve our ambition to provide a world-class legal and business education through digitally-enabled learning experiences, affording students to reach their full potential.
In maintaining our distinctiveness, we depend on our most valuable resource; our staff. Supporting our staff to offer dynamic and immersive learning, we rely on state-of-the-art technology and facilities. We will continue to maximise on the use of our in-campus facilities where required within the in-person attendance or blended programme.
The University of Law’s digital journey continues to evolve through initiatives such as curricula-driven mobile applications, the dedicated Online Campus and ULTRA ‘I’-modules.
This personalised digital experience acts as a springboard for widening participation, innovation, enterprise and partnership with our learners and their future employers.
Our priorities continue to focus on being recognised as the best University for teaching excellence and continuous improvement through our judicious use of creative and innovative teaching approaches.
Continuous evaluation of our academic delivery and supporting learning models assists us in the generation and distribution of new knowledge. Equally, it demonstrates our commitment to innovating learning, teaching and assessment through technology. Our students gain digital employability attributes through their learning experience. On a professional footing, we extend our relationships among partner organisations to form deep, long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships.
In all that we do, we ensure our distinctiveness delivers outstanding teaching and fulfils our mission, vision and values as a private university.
Phase one – Self-Assessment
Our self-assessment phase is divided into three distinctive elements, programme, structure and self.
Each National Programme Director will work with a group of in-house consultants to determine a digital standard category that applies to their programme(s). Programme directors consider each of the indicator statements and select which category reflects their programme activities. Examples of evidence are required to substantiate the chosen category. The in-house consultants will provide support and guidance on reflecting upon and completing the self-assessment documents.
We invite each department across the university to complete our self-assessment of their business professional structure to support learning. In-house consultants work alongside Heads of Department to identify a digital standard category that reflects their current infrastructure. Examples of evidence are required to substantiate the selected category. The in-house consultants will provide support and guidance on reflecting upon and completing the self-assessment documents.
Digitisation and Self-discovery
Digitisation is creating both opportunities and challenges within Higher Education. At the University of Law, we have set up a virtual department to support students and staff to enhance their digital literacies. Digital Academy offers students a unique opportunity to explore and expand on their digital skills required for study and employment.
- The Digital Academy provides a one-stop-shop for a member of Ulaw to access training and support opportunities for digital skills.
- Central to the Digital Academy is the principle of an individual being able to complete a digital capabilities assessment aligned to the priorities of the Ulaw in terms of digital skills and literacies. The results will provide recommendations on their development pathway and sign-post relevant workshops and support materials.
- The Digital Academy is a critical deliverable tool of the Future Academic Model.
During the summer of 2020, Academic staff and Business Professionals completed the JISC Digital Capabilities tool. The results have been used to provide support through the new Digital Academy to enhance the University of Law staff digital skills. In the self-discovery, we asked all staff to access the JISC discovery tool and refine their skills and knowledge with the support of our Digital Academy team, and digital champions.
In conclusion, involving our staff to make judgements about their digital achievements is a practical approach to supporting student learning. This is significantly important when redesigning university infrastructures and delivery of our programmes to enable an exceptional, student driven curriculum.